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The Ultimate Guide to Excellent Email Headers (and Five Fantastic Examples!)

If you’ve been sending emails for a while, you may be seeking for something fresh or unusual to make them stand out. Have you thought about modifying your email headers?

Looking for email header samples for your next campaign?

What exactly is an email header?

Because they are part of the email designs you use on a daily basis, headers are easy to overlook. You may, however, make these needed components more on-brand and more relevant to your subscribers. However, before you can do so, you must first grasp what an email header is.

An email is made up of two basic parts:

The email’s subject line
The email body/text

The email header contains the following information about the sender and recipient:

The sender is
The lucky receiver
The occasion
The topic
The server is charge of transmission
Image (optional)

examples of excellent email headers
Source: Gmail

How to Interpret an Email Header
While every email client displays full email header information, several conceal it in a separate dropdown menu. In Gmail, look for the little grey arrow that, when clicked, brings up the header dropdown menu. You can find all of the information here.

In general, most email headers will display the sender, subject line, and send date without the need for a dropdown menu.

What distinguishes an email header from a preheader text?
It’s important to note that an email header and preheader content are not the same thing, even though they’re both critical to the success of your email in terms of giving the ROI or conversion rate that you’re aiming for.

After seeing an example of an email header, what does email preheader text look like?

Inbox example - Email header examples
Source: Gmail

The preheader text is the information that appears behind the email subject line before you open it. While the preheader content is not required, it is seen to be important real estate in a message.

The benefits and drawbacks of utilizing email headers and preheader text
As with many other things, there are advantages and disadvantages to utilizing email headers and preheader text. Making excellent use of these areas may aid in the improvement of key performance indicators (KPIs) such as your open rate and conversion rate. However, certain circumstances may result in you merely squandering your time.

Both the header and preheader content, when correctly structured, may help you observe a rise in KPIs and conversions, among other things:

Encourage the reader to continue reading.
Provide an incentive to users.
Increase your open rates.
Boost conversion rates
Increase the number of people who visit your website (assuming you’ve included CTAs that direct them there).


While it is impossible to list all of the negative consequences of employing headers and preheader text, there are a handful. They do, however, revolve more on how you use them than how you utilize them.

Mistaking the subject line for the preheader text: It’s untidy to repeat your topic link in the preheader content.
Including an unsubscribe link: You must give a straightforward method for people to unsubscribe. You do not, however, want to put it in your preheader content. That’s the same of saying, “Hey, don’t bother reading.”
Using a lengthy preheader text: Although you should make excellent use of this region of your email header and preheader content, if it becomes too lengthy, it will be chopped off. It might be a waste of time if you don’t make effective use of the initial few words.
It’s also worth mentioning that, although all email programs display email header information, not all display preheader content.

How many characters are displayed per email provider? This infographic explains.
Source: Campaign Monitor

Whatever you pick, be sure to keep on-brand and incorporate your logo, since this lets your subscribers know they’re receiving an email from your company.

Because part of the material in the header is subject to rules, viewing some imaginative methods may help you realize what’s feasible. The following samples are anti-spam compliant and still sparkle.

Birchbox distributes customer loyalty information
Birchbox’s header contains all of the necessary information. The crew also had some fun with the subject line by including an emoji.

Their header graphic is very inventive in that it includes information about their loyalty program. From the top of the email, the reader may click to learn more, check how many points they’ve earned, and subscribe to their service.

Birchbox – Email Marketing – Header Loyalty Information

AFAR makes effective use of preheader text
One of the most underutilized elements of an email is the preheader text. Preheader text appears in the inbox immediately after the subject line and is the first line of text from the email itself. AFAR does not attempt to conceal the preheader text.

Instead, it is highlighted by the gray box and is so captivating that it draws the reader into the remainder of the email. AFAR has also placed their social media symbols prominently at the top of each email.

Afar - Email Marketing – Preheader Text

King Arthur Flour incorporates transactional information in its Afar – Email Marketing – Preheader Text
King Arthur Flour’s delivery notice email is used to assist consumers locate useful information and ideas. They lead consumers to recipes and their blog while they wait, encouraging them to learn more about the brand.

King Arthur Flour – Transactional Email Marketing

Conde Nast Travels provides links to their most popular articles
Conde Nast Traveler has made it very simple for its subscribers to get their content through email. Above their banner picture, they’ve provided links to content that the team believes subscribers will find intriguing.

Conde Nast Traveler – Email Marketing – Header Image and Links

Sublime Stitching keeps it simple

Sublime Stitching’s preheader text is minimal, and it features their logo and a few links to their website. It’s simple to read and gets the information through without being overly wordy. This makes it more appealing for a reader to read the remainder of the email for a company with vivid embroidery designs.

Sublime Stitching – Email Campaign – Simple Pre-Header Text

Wrap up

While headers may seem simple, they may be improved to breathe new life into your emails. Maintain legal compliance, which shouldn’t be too tough if you’re utilizing email marketing software. Just remember to personalize it. Any substantial changes in your email should be A/B tested, just like anything else.